With current Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jerome Pecko set to retire when his contract is up in July, the district now faces the big task of finding his replacement.
Local education leaders say they are looking for someone who is forward-thinking and can turn the district around quickly.
"Experience, period," said Board President Brenda Hill, on what she was looking for in a candidate. "Energy, ideas, relationship with personnel, because this is a leadership position. It's also a PR [public relations] position, because you have to go out and talk to parents and businesses."
The TPS school board has the option of hiring an interim superintendent, or search for a replacement through the Ohio or National School Board Association.
The new superintendent will face a handful of issues to deal with right away:
- school funding, dependent on state aid
- a district investigation by the state auditor's office
- contract negotiations for the district
"Focuses should be around common core assessments and evaluations," said Kevin Dalton, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers. "As well as a teacher evaluation system, that needs to be developed as a fair professional growth model that allows for teachers to grow and apply for higher student achievement."
Everyone agreed that the new superintendent will have their hands full on day one.
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell said the selection of Pecko's replacement will not only be important for TPS, but for the entire community.
"I just know our school system needs to be more aggressive," he said. "We need to be shooting for more schools of excellence. I know there are people inside that system that can do it, here's an opportunity to dissect what is not working and what is working."
The school board has not set a date yet for a special meeting to determine the plan going forward, but Hill said she hopes they have a plan in place by the end of February.